In the News

Professor Gregory Germain on the First Witness of the Trump Hush Money Trial

Professor Gregory Germain spoke with Salon after the first witness, former National Enquirer chairman David Pecker, was called in the Trump hush money trial.

Germain said how Pecker’s role in the hush-money payment to Stormy Daniels “relates to the charges against Trump” is “not clear.” He emphasized that the former president’s charges pertain to falsifying business records in connection with Daniels’ payoff. “I don’t see how the ‘catch and kill’ scheme is relevant to the business records charges, except maybe to show that Trump was trying to hide negative information from the public.”

To prove the charges against the former president, the prosecution “must show” that Trump falsified them “to commit fraud on someone” and “hide a separate independent crime,” Germain explained, reiterating he doesn’t see Pecker’s testimony relating to the “elements that the prosecution has to prove.”

Professor Cora True-Frost G’01, L’01 Speaks with USA Today & New Mexico Political Report on SCOTUS Hearing on the Abortion Drug Mifepristone

Professor Cora True-Frost G’01, L’0, discussed with USA Today the recent oral arguments in the Supreme Court of the United States case FDA v. Alliance for Hippocratic Medicine. The Alliance is seeking to roll back access to mifepristone across the country.

True-Frost noted that by tackling the apparent weaknesses in the doctors’ standing to sue and the broad remedies they demanded, the court was avoiding the knottier question of whether the judiciary should have a say in science-based decisions like the approval of drugs by the FDA.

“For the court to engage the merits of those arguments, they would be substituting their judgment for those of the experts at the FDA,” said True-Frost. “Focusing on the threshold issue of standing is a classic judicial move to conserve court resources and avoid making cases the court would rather not make.”

True-Frost also spoke with the New Mexico Political Report on the case. She discussed the fact that Justices Clarence Thomas and Samuel Alito referred to the Comstock Act during oral argument, could be a kind of signal to the anti-abortion movement to try to bring a suit regarding that law.

If the nine justices determine that the case does have standing and rule in favor of the Alliance, then the implications could be devastating, True-Frost said and would go far beyond the question of medication abortion.

She said the effect would be “massive in terms of the impact of the regulatory state.”

“The effect of taking this pill out of circulation, off the menu for women who could choose it, affects this relationship between the administrative branch and the judiciary,” True-Frost said.

True-Frost said the implications are larger than just the FDA. She called it a “multi-prong attack against the doctrine called the Chevron deference,” which she defined as a policy of the courts to defer to agency decisions.

Professor Kat Macfarlane Responds to Competing Judge Shopping Bills

Professor Kat Macfarlane, an expert on local Federal court rules, recently spoke with Law360 for the article “Dueling Bills Highlight Partisan Divide Over ‘Judge Shopping’.” At issue are competing Senate bills from both parties that aim to limit ‘judge shopping.’

Macfarlane says what’s missing from the bills are any attempts to limit unfair judge assignments in criminal or non-political cases. Regarding Senator Chuck Schumer’s, D-N.Y., bill, she fears that “unrepresented, incarcerated, powerless parties” are not part of the considerations.

“There are so many examples of other cases in which parties get their cases assigned directly, there are all kinds of local rules that allow judges to pull what they call related cases onto their docket, senior judges and visiting judges get to select the type and number of cases they hear,” Macfarlane said. Another example is that, in certain district courts, when someone wants to challenge their federal conviction through a habeas petition, “there are rules that force the filing of our federal habeas petition to be directly assigned to the same judge that sentenced you.”

Professor Gregory Germain Discusses Trump’s Criminal Case

Professor Gregory Germain recently spoke with Newsweek about the Trump criminal case regarding hush money payments to Stormy Daniels.

In the article “Why Donald Trump’s Hopes of Trial Acquittal Are Slim”, Germain says “The D.A. is going to have a much easier time than Trump. It’s going to be very difficult for Trump to find jurors from the Manhattan jury pool who are likely to side with him, as Manhattan voters are overwhelmingly Democratic and quite liberal.”

Professor Kat Macfarlane on Federal Texas Trial Courthouse Maneuvering: “It’s absurd to give that much power to one person in the federal system”

Professor Kat Macfarlane recently spoke with Bloomberg Law for the article “Chief Judge Sought to Move New Appointee Out of Texas Courthouse.” The article revolved around Chief Judge Alia Moses of a Texas federal trial court’s attempt to reassign a newly appointed judge Ernest Gonzales out of her courthouse to another courthouse over a reported personal issue. The chief judge said the move was due to a conflict of interest, but that conflict has been resolved.

Macfarlane, who studies case assignment procedures, said it’s concerning that such a decision can be made by the chief judge individually with little oversight. Chief judges are not chosen or elected but rather are elevated to the position if they meet certain criteria set by federal law, including being under the age of 65. Still, many courts make decisions on matters like case assignment through consensus, rather than divisive votes.

“It’s absurd to give that much power to one person in the federal system,” Macfarlane said.

Professor Cora True-Frost Named 2024–2027 Meredith Professor for Teaching Excellence

Cora True-Frost L’01, the Bond Schoeneck and King Professor of Law at Syracuse University College of Law has been honored with the title of Laura J. and L. Douglas Meredith Professor for Teaching Excellence. This prestigious award recognizes True-Frost’s exceptional contributions as both a teacher and a scholar within the university community.

The Meredith Professorship is among the highest teaching accolades at Syracuse University, bestowed annually upon two tenured faculty members. Those who receive this honor are expected to actively engage with the Center for Teaching and Learning Excellence (CTLE) to enhance the teaching and learning environment across campus and stimulate discussions on teaching excellence.

True-Frost specializes in constitutional law, European and international disability law , and public international law. Her recent research focuses on the right to travel, accessibility and reasonable accommodation law within the Council of Europe, as well as conflicts between interpretations of international human rights and regional human rights law. True-Frost co-edited and authored “The First Global Prosecutor: Promise and Constraints” with Martha Minow and Alex Whiting. Her published works cover a range of topics, including international disability law and human rights, ICC prosecution, terrorism and human rights law, and the UN Security Council. 

During the 2021-2022 academic year, she was an Erasmus Fellow at Bialystok University School of Law and during the 2022-2023 academic year, she was a Fulbright Research Scholar at the PluriCourts Centre in the Faculty of Law at the University of Oslo, Norway.  Her scholarship is enriched by her experience parenting a child with severe disabilities and her international legal practice.   She has defended individuals accused of crimes against humanity and war crimes, worked in the post-conflict settings of East Timor and Sierra Leone, and, at UN headquarters,ledthe Nongovernmental Organization Working Group on Women, Peace, and Security, in its advocacy to the UN Security Council.

True-Frost also serves as the faculty director of Impunity Watch News, the Journal of Global Rights and Organizations, and the Journal of International Law and Commerce. She has taught at Harvard Law School, the Academy of European Law in Florence, Italy, and Mackenzie School of Law, in Sao Paolo, Brazil.

As a newly appointed Meredith Professor, True-Frost will receive a supplementary salary award and additional funding for professional development each year of her appointment. Meredith Professors are lifelong members of the Meredith Symposium, providing a permanent platform for the discussion of teaching and learning.  True-Frost’s Meredith project will focus on cultivating students’ sense of belonging in classrooms and involvement through universal design for learning.

Professor Emeritus William C. Banks Discusses the Texas National Guard and the Southern Border Emeritus William C. Banks spoke with the Christian Science Monitor on the Texas National Guard’s role in patrolling the southern U.S. border.

In the article “Texas National Guard tests state authority on U.S. southern border”, Banks says

“No state can use the National Guard in a way that offends the United States Constitution, or the supremacy of federal law. What’s going on now in Texas, viewed a certain way, is Abbott is interfering in a federal power over immigration.”

Professor Greg Germain on Trump Gag Order: “He Could Face Direct Criminal Contempt”

Professor Greg Germain recently spoke with Newsweek about the gag order issued to Donald Trump in the Stormy Daniels hush money case.

Germain said, “apart from making comments outside of court, Trump could face ‘direct criminal contempt’ proceedings while appearing in person at the Daniels trial.”

“If Trump did not control himself in court, for example, if he insulted the judge in court, the judge could hold him in direct contempt and put him in jail for a few days or something like that,” said Germain.

Germain added that, in addition to direct and indirect criminal contempt of court, Trump could also face civil contempt proceedings.

“Civil contempt is to force future compliance with an order. If Trump was ordered to do something, like turn over his passport or testify, and refused, he could be put in jail until he agreed to comply,” he said.

preLaw Magazine Recognizes Syracuse University College of Law’s JDinteractive Program as One of the Best Online J.D. Programs

In the Spring 2024 preLaw Magazine, Syracuse University College of Law’s JDinteractive Program was recognized as one of the best online J.D. programs.

The magazine also spoke with Associate Dean for Online Education Shannon Gardner, who highlighted JDinteractive’s unique in-person residencies.

In each residency, students will engage with classmates through a condensed in-person class complemented by social and networking events. The collaborative nature of the residency programming encourages teamwork and enhances the learning experience and growth toward your career. Plus, Orange alumni who are leaders in their fields are lecturers and hosts at locations worldwide.

Students sit around a large oval table at JetBlue
Students went to JetBlue headquarters in New York City during a Residency in August 2023 to discuss asset finance.

“For example, Holland & Knight partner and alumnus Richard Furey taught an asset financing course in New York City last August,” Gardner said. “Our dean has expertise in international taxation and hosts a course every other year in Geneva, Switzerland, on international tax law.” 

As the legal profession continues to evolve, JDinteractive remains at the forefront, preparing students to excel in their careers with a comprehensive and innovative approach to legal education.